Following fire, South Porcupine Food Bank finds new locations to serve clients

Operating from the back of its van did the trick for the South Porcupine Food Bank while it made contingency plans after a fire at a neighbouring apartment unit.

Last month, the organization lost everything to smoke damage; food, appliances and its computer system had to be thrown out.

The news did not sit well with people in need. The food bank serves nearly 300 clients each month and kind-hearted souls rallied to collect food and money without even being asked.

Officials said more than $40,000 and nearly 11,000 pounds of food have been donated. The gestures have touched food bank volunteers.

“The community has just pitched in and helped us replenish and it’s just been remarkable the donations we’ve been receiving from all over the area," said Connie Grosvenor.

Grosvenor and other volunteers are now working out of a unit at the Porcupine Mall that's been donated by Metro, the mall's owner, for the next six months.

Food bank clients are asked to pick up their groceries there until the organization moves into a permanent location on Bloor Avenue, next to the C.M. Shields Public Library.

"We're here to help," said Peter Davis, treasurer of the South Porcupine Food Bank.

“Typically, we get anywhere (from) 235 to about 300 clients per month that come in. They’re allowed to come in once every 28 days, so it really does vary. We do get new clients almost every shift, as well, so there are people coming in and coming out of the food bank system."

People who walk or take the bus will also be given a utility cart. Anti-Hunger Coalition Timmins has donated 70 of them.

Davis said a lease has just been signed and in the coming months, the South Porcupine Food Bank will eventually move to 97 Bloor Ave.

Work is underway to get the facility ready for full-service food bank operations.